Red Clay State Historical Park hosts Cherokee Cultural Celebration

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) – A Cherokee Cultural Celebration at a local park brought out people in droves this weekend.

It’s a look at authentic Cherokee culture.

“My father used to call the class I was in when I was in school – which you would call it history – he called it his story, because it’s their story it’s not our story. So when we go across the United States, even into other countries, and educate, we tell them the real history of us,” says Daniel Ledford.

Ledford is one of the Warriors of AniKituhwa.

They are cultural ambassadors for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians from the Cherokee reservation in North Carolina.

And they’re one of several at the Red Clay State Historical Park Sunday.

“I grew up in a traditional family. I’m a full blood. I’m bird clan. My momma’s bird clan. Women on back as far as it can go – they’re all bird clan. And on my dad’s side was wolf clan – all the way back on his blood line side, but we take our clan from our mom,” Ledford adds.

The park is the last meeting place of the Cherokee nation before the Trail of Tears.

Red Clay State Park manager Erin Medley says this celebration is a way to share to the public not just the Cherokee’s past, but also their present.

“The Cherokee are still here. They’re still living and they’re still thriving and we want people to understand that” Medley says.

“We still do our dances that are as old as our people. We still sang those songs the dances that we do out here. We have to modify them a little bit, because our elders tell us we have to change them. They can’t be done exactly how we do them back home because we’re sharing them to the public. The ones that are original is the only one we do. And, we’ll be the only ones that take part or see them,” Ledford says.

Traditions Ledford says are too sacred, but live on.


Categories: Cleveland, Local News

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